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Legal news from Tuesday, June 3, 2008
by Deirdre Jurand

A proposed UK anti-terror bill [materials; BBC Q/A] that would allow authorities to detain terror suspects without charge for up to 42 days has been amended to only apply in cases of "grave and exceptional" terrorist threats, UK Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said Tuesday. Current British law authorizes detention without charge …

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by Deirdre Jurand

The recent dismissal of the US military judge presiding over the military commission trial of Canadian Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr was not politically motivated, chief Guantanamo judge Marine Col. Ralph H. Kohlmann said Monday. Kohlman said that Col. Peter Brownback was removed because the Army did not renew his recall orders [official …

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by Andrew Gilmore

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a statement Tuesday asserting that Israeli plans to expand settlements in the West Bank violate international law. The statement was delivered by Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Max Gaylard at the opening of the UN International Meeting on the Question of Palestine in Malta. …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

The Commission on the Legal Empowerment of the Poor released a report Tuesday emphasizing the essential nature of the rule of law in eliminating poverty. The report's findings indicated that a vast majority of the world's poor live outside the protections of the law. Many are not registered with any state legal …

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by Andrew Gilmore

Last month's constitutional referendum in Myanmar approving a new national charter put forward by the military has effectively "washed away" any mandate to govern claimed by opposition party National League for Democracy (NLD), state-run newspaper New Light of Myanmar said Tuesday. The NLD, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, won …

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by Deirdre Jurand

Human Rights Watch (HRW) Tuesday called on China to release the remaining imprisoned Tiananmen Square protesters as part of a wider effort to improve the nation's human rights image before the 2008 Olympic Games. HRW urged the government to reverse its official 1989 classification of the protests as a "counterrevolutionary rebellion", release a …

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by Andrew Gilmore

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal Monday heard an Islamic advocacy group's allegations that a 2006 article published in Canadian news magazine Maclean's discriminated against Muslims. Mohamed Elmasry and Naiyer Habib, members of the Canadian Islamic Conference (CIC), allege that the article, written by Canadian author Mark Steyn and entitled "The future belongs …

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by Deirdre Jurand

Voters in two rural Bolivian states Sunday voted in favor of autonomy measures that would allow the provincial governments to form legislatures, gather police forces and become more independent of national control. Bolivian President Evo Morales characterized the referenda in Beni and Pando as an illegal and …

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by Mike Rosen-Molina

Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders said Tuesday that it will likely take months for parliament to pass a proposed constitutional amendment package that would restore the judiciary deposed by President Musharraf and limit executive powers. Some top Pakistani lawmakers expressed skepticism that the measures would be approved at all. A …

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by Deirdre Jurand

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Monday encouraged the Russian parliament to reject a bill that would allow officials to close media outlets suspected of spreading libel or slander. The measure, which passed the parliament's first reading [St. Petersburg Times report] by an overwhelming majority on April 25, would amend Russian media law, expanding the definition …

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by Andrew Gilmore

A California ballot initiative that would amend the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage is set to appear on the November ballot, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen said Monday. If approved by voters, the California Marriage Protection Act would amend the state constitution to read, "nly marriage between a man …

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by Deirdre Jurand

A Chinese official has dismissed a new US report on the state of Chinese human rights, calling it incorrect and groundless. Findings in the US Department of State's 2008 Advancing Freedom and Democracy Reports, released late last month, accuse the Chinese government of denying its citizens basic human rights and also describe the need for judicial …

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